Sam Sleight, Head of Marketing, Brooks and Kirk (Assessor Training) Ltd

Sam Sleight from Brooks and Kirk explains the qualifications and routes available to become an Assessor:

The requirements for assessor roles can vary from employer to employer and qualification to qualification. However, generally speaking, to become an assessor, you need two things. These are occupational competence and the appropriate assessor qualification.

That is the simple answer. But, I am going to break it down further. So that you have, what I like to think of as, a proper answer!

Occupational Competence

You need to be able to evidence occupational competence in whatever sector it is that you are looking to assess in. Now, if you have recent and extensive experience of working within your industry and you have got your NVQ Level 3 or 5 in the area you are looking to assess in, you have got nothing to worry about. So, if that sounds like you, then you may as well scroll down to find the appropriate assessor qualification now. 

If, on the other hand, you think you may be a little short on experience or qualifications; then you've got more to learn. 

How do I know if I am occupationally competent?

Experience of working within the respective occupation is without a doubt the most important factor prospective employers will consider when looking for evidence of occupational competence. So, if you are still fairly young and haven't gained much in the way of vocational experience, it's unlikely you will be deemed 'occupationally competent' just yet. 

For those that do have a good few years’ experience under their belt though, it's just the qualifications you have to worry about. Ideally, you will have received some accredited training whilst working in your role. As these certificates can then be used to demonstrate competence within the occupation you have experience in.

But if you haven't completed any NVQs, BTECs or any other training for that matter, don't worry. Because in a lot of cases, it isn't mandatory to hold a specific qualification to be able to assess learners completing a particular apprenticeship standard or NVQ. These are in fact requirements that are imposed by each individual training provider/college. So we would advise finding out for yourself what the mandatory requirements would be for you... 

For people looking to become NVQ Assessors

Training providers and colleges register and certificate learners through awarding bodies. It is these awarding organisations that set the mandatory requirements for assessors. They set out these requirements somewhere within the specification for each qualification.

Pearson Edexcel makes all of their qualification specifications very easy to find online. So, if you know what the name is for the NVQ you want to assess, you can go onto the Edexcel website and search that qualification and download the spec. Then all you need to do is look in the contents section for what page to go to for the 'requirements for assessors'.

For people looking to become On-Programme Assessors

The requirements for on-programme assessors, on the other hand, are completely down to the training provider responsible for the delivery of the apprenticeship. Currently, there are no requirements set out in the standards for what on-programme assessors need to have to be deemed 'occupationally competent'. 

That being said, obviously if the apprentice is required to complete a vocational qualification, then the OP assessor will need to meet the requirements set out in that specification. 

The Inevitable Indecisiveness

Unfortunately, as you may find out for yourself if you have a look, the language used in the 'requirements for assessors' sections in specifications can be quite subjective.

For training providers and colleges, this is good because it enables them to have more discretion over what they require their assessors to have.

However, for people like you looking to become assessors, it can be a nightmare.

Because every time you ask the question; "what do I need to become an NVQ assessor?" you could find a different answer!

In a nutshell, it's very possible that one training provider could say that you don't have enough evidence to support your level of occupational competence, and another might say the complete opposite. 

A general rule of thumb

Now I'm sure you can appreciate why it is so difficult to advise on this topic!

But, we don't want to sit on the fence. We want to give you some kind of idea as to where you stand with being able to become an assessor.

So, if you:

  • Have a minimum of 2 years experience in an occupation;
  • Have gained some form of Maths and English qualifications (preferably at Level 2 or equivalent), or can prove that you are proficient in Maths and English;
  • And you have undertaken training/qualifications relevant to your occupation (be it accredited or non-accredited);

Then you should have enough to look at taking the next and most important step towards becoming an assessor - Completing the appropriate assessor qualification. 

That being said, if you would like some clarity on this, we would recommend the following quick tip. 

Quick tip: Find some assessor jobs online in your industry and get in touch with the prospective employer if possible. See what they have to say about your 'occupational competence'. 

I hope this has helped anyone who was unsure before on what the process of becoming an assessor involved. Good luck with getting your assessor qualification and the job you want!

Sam Sleight, Head of Marketing, Brooks and Kirk (Assessor Training) Ltd

About Sam Sleight: Sam is the Marketing Manager at Brooks and Kirk. Whenever he’s not working away on websites, managing advertising campaigns or creating new content, he’s probably watching football. But aside from his passion for football and Chelsea in particular, he is also passionate about helping those that are eager to start a new career in the FE industry to receive the best advice, guidance and support possible.

About Brooks and Kirk: Brooks and Kirk are an independent training provider with over 20 years’ experience in delivering assessor and internal quality assurance qualifications. They have loads of great content on their assessor training website for anyone that is interested in becoming an assessor. If you are interested in finding out more here is a link to the Brooks and Kirk assessor training website.

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